Today’s scripture reading in our Acts Bible Reading Plan comes from Acts chapter 10. And I don’t want to give away too much since I’m preaching on this chapter of Acts in a couple weeks. But I’ll give you a little sneak peek.
Acts 10 has some amazing things going on. First of all, there’s a guy named Cornelius, who is a Gentile (a fancy word for not Jewish), but worships God.
And then there’s Peter, a disciple of Jesus, a Jew, and God gives him a crazy vision.
The Jewish people were not allowed to eat certain foods that were considered “unclean.” They weren’t really supposed to associate with Gentiles for that matter either because they too were considered “unclean.” And here in Acts 10 Peter receives a vision of unclean animals and is told “Get up, Peter! Kill and eat.” (Acts 10:13)
And of course, Peter replied, “Absolutely not Lord! I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.”
And here is where things get interesting. The voice speaking to Peter responds, “Never consider unclean what God has made pure.” God has just completely rocked Peter’s world. God has just changed everything Peter ever thought he knew about how the world works.
And so this vision has deeper meaning than just eating clean or unclean foods. Soon Peter is invited into the home of Cornelius, a Gentile; a place that Peter has always been taught is unclean. And now, this is his response, “God has shown me that I should never call a person impure or unclean.” Peter has realized that his vision about uncleanliness applies to people as well.
In Acts 10:34 Peter says, “I am really learning that God doesn’t show partiality to one group of people over another.” (CEB)
As I read this story and these words today I am convicted about all the times I have judged others, thought others were “unclean” or less than me. But God is calling us to see all people the way he sees them. God is calling us to see all people as clean. What if we stopped seeing people as us and them? Just like Peter stopped seeing people as Jew or Gentile, clean or unclean. What if we saw people not as weird or different, but simply people? Let us remember that God does not show partiality to one group of people or another. Let us remember that the Good News of Jesus Christ is for all people. After all, without the blood of Jesus Christ we would all be unclean. But because of the cross we have been made clean.